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National roundup: Military group, Black AIDS Institute, cruising sting
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2017-08-23

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The American Military Partner Association ( AMPA )—the nation's largest organization of LGBT military spouses and their families—praised the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights' condemnation of President Trump's proposed transgender military ban, according to a press release. The commission said, "The President's mere announcement of a ban on transgender military service harms all Americans by sending a message that fosters and encourages prejudice, inconsistent with our core national values." AMPA President Ashley Broadway-Mack responded, "We are thankful the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has spoken out and joined the growing bipartisan condemnation of President Trump's vicious assault on our nation's transgender service members and their families."

The Black AIDS Institute's 16th Annual Heroes in the Struggle Awards Presentation & Reception will be held Sept. 16 at the Darryl F. Zanuck Theater at 20th Century Fox Studios, PR Newswire indicated. The 2017 inductees include Taraji P. Henson, Laverne Cox, Vanessa Williams, Alfre Woodard, Gina Belafonte and Gina Brown, while the 2017 Corporate Hero is Novant Health. Black AIDS Institute Board Member Jussie Smollett is slated to host. The 2017 theme is "Black Men Honoring Black Women," and R&B singer/songwriter Ledisi will perform a special tribute. See HeroesInTheStruggle.org .

Almost four dozen men were arrested in a cruising sting operation in Martin County, Florida, LGBTQ Nation reported. Police set up hidden cameras in two known cruising areas for two months. ( The cameras also caught license plate numbers so the police could start making arrests. ) "My first concern when I heard about this behavior was for the safety of the families using that area," Sheriff William Snyder said.

In Texas, the victim of a fatal shooting in Waxahachie is believed to be at least the 17th transgender person killed in the country this year, OutsmartMagazine.com reported. Gwynevere River Song, 26 ( who identified as "femandrogyne" and went by the pronouns they/their ), died after being shot following an argument with another individual in the suburb south of Dallas. the day before their death, Song shared a story on Twitter about a new report from NCAVP showing that more LGBTQ people have been killed so far in 2017 than in all of 2016.

Phoenix police are investigating the assault on a transgender teenager by up to 20 people, LGBTQ Nation reported. The incident was filmed by one of the attackers and posted to social media. In the video, Dakota Kern, 18, can be seen at a pool party she says she was lured to, where a group of people began attacking her. She is seen lying on the ground, as people punch and kick her. Phoenix police say their bias crimes unit is investigating, and are urging anyone with information to come forward.

A New York City man who threatened to rape City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, murder her family, and murder the city's LGBTQ police officers is facing charges, according to LGBTQ Nation. Daniel Silvera allegedly made the threats in July 28 emails he sent to Mark-Viverito, as well as to Det. Brian Downey ( the president of the NYPD's Gay Officers Action League ) and to three police officers from the NYPD's LGBT Outreach Unit. Silvera said he would kill every gay and lesbian police officer, prosecutors said.

The executive director of the Philadelphia's Office of LGBT Affairs kicked off its second-ever LGBTQ "community conversation" as Philadelphia's gayborhood reels from an intense racial divide and a recent scandal, PhillyVoice.com reported. This spring, allegations involving sex and drugs rocked the Mazzoni Center, one of the country's most well-known LGBT health facilities—but the story didn't gain national traction because of ongoing allegations of racism and transphobia in the city. However, the conversation had a lot happening: For the first time publicly, Mazzoni Center employees threatened to unionize. Several employees ( one wearing a Trans Voices Matter T-shirt ) stood up and asked for permission from the facility's board of directors to seek representation by SEIU Healthcare PA.

Two gay students no longer feel accepted by their Missouri high school after submitting quotes for the 2017 yearbook that were ultimately omitted, The Huffington Post reported. Joey Slivinski and Thomas Swartz—who graduated from Kearney High School in Kearney, Missouri this spring—had their quotes excised. "Of course I dress well. I didn't spend all that time in the closet for nothing," Slivinski's quote reportedly read. Swartz said his quote offered a similar sentiment: "If Harry Potter taught us anything, it's that nobody deserves to live in the closet." Kearney High School officials said that quotes that "could potentially offend another student or groups of students" were not published in the yearbook.

Nathaniel Glover, 57—aka The Kidd Creole of the pioneering rap group Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five—told prosecutors he fatally stabbed a homeless man because he thought the man might rob him after hitting on him, NBC New York reported. Glover confessed to stabbing the man, later identified as 55-year-old John Jolly. Assistant District Attorney Mark Dahl says Glover told him he became infuriated when he thought John Jolly was hitting on him on a midtown street.

Funders for LGBTQ Issues will celebrate its 35th anniversary and honor leaders in LGBTQ philanthropy at the inaugural Pride in Philanthropy Awards, to be held in New York City on Thursday, Nov. 2, a press release noted. When Funders for LGBTQ Issues was founded in 1982, less than $250,000 was awarded to LGBTQ issues annually. In 2015, the last year for which data is available, foundations and corporations awarded more than $160 million to support LGBTQ communities.

On Fox and Friends, co-host Steve Doocy asked guest Star Parker about House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi chastising Donald Trump for taking so long to condemn the violence and murder "by Nazis and white supremacists"—and Parker responded, in part, by comparing white supremacists carrying torches and making Nazi salutes with a Pride parade, according to NewNowNext.com . "What's really interesting, the really incredible irony here, is the same people that are demanding that the Confederate flag comes down are the same people that are insisting that the rainbow flag goes up," Parker told Doocy. Parker has made numerous comments attacking the LGBT community or, as she puts it, "those choosing the homosexual lifestyle."

NGLCC ( The National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce ) and the USBLN ( U.S. Business Leadership Network ) announced in a press release that the Billion Dollar Roundtable ( BDR ) voted to expand criteria in evaluating how to spend supply chains. The new criteria will include incorporating certified LGBT business enterprises ( LGBTBEs ), disability-owned business enterprises ( DOBEs ), service-disabled veteran disability-owned business enterprises ( SDV-DOBE ) and veteran-disability owned business enterprises ( V-DOBEs ). The move will secure thousands of dollars in new business for NGLCC-certified LGBTBEs.

The LGBT Network will unveil plans for its LGBT senior affordable-housing site in Bay Shore prior to what was called a historic vote by The Town of Islip's planning board, an organizational press release noted. The LGBT Network's Senior Citizen Housing Project—the first of its kind on Long Island—would address a major shortage in the region of affordable senior housing, the organization said. A brand new state-of-the-art 8,000-square-foot LGBT Center would adjoin the housing complex and provide services to its residents and to seniors throughout the region.

The Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) Foundation—in partnership with the National Education Association ( NEA ) and the American Counseling Association ( ACA )—will hold its Time to THRIVE Conference Feb. 16-18 at the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek in Orlando, according to a press release. ( Toyota will again be a presenting sponsor. ) HRC's Time to THRIVE is a national convening of educators and youth-serving professionals to build awareness and cultural competency, learn current and emerging best practices, and gather resources from leading experts and national organizations in the field. To register, visit TimeToThrive.org .

As part of the Live Proud campaign, AT&T and the Human Rights Campaign are launching a companion initiative geared toward college students called "Live Proud on Campus." They are calling on students to submit video pitches for LGBT-supportive projects at their schools. Submissions are open through Sept. 22 and the public will vote on the videos. Three grand-prize winners will receive a $10,000 scholarship; a trip to Washington; D.C. to attend the HRC National Dinner; and $2,500 to fund their on-campus projects. See http://about.att.com/story/live_proud_on_campus_scholarship_contest.html.

In celebration of the 100th-year anniversary of women's right to vote in New York state, The National Women's Hall of Fame will host a weekend celebrating the achievements of American women in the birthplace of the women's rights movement in the U.S., a press release noted. The National Women's Hall of Fame will celebrate the inclusion of 10 women into the ranks of the inductees at the biennial induction ceremony on Sept. 16 at the NYS Chiropractic College in Seneca Falls, New York. Some of the inductees will include Dr. Temple Grandin, Lorraine Hansberry, Sherry Lansing, Clare Boothe Luce and Dr. Janet D. Rowley.

Fired Google memo writer James Damore is comparing being a conservative at the company with being gay before Stonewall—a time when gay people were beaten, killed and imprisoned for their sexuality, The Daily Dot noted. In an interview with Business Insider, writer Steve Kovach asked Damore how he would respond to Google's female employees who felt attacked by his comments in the memo. Damore fired back with another hot take, saying that conservatives at Google were forced to "stay in the closet" while working for the company. In "Why I Was Fired By Google," Damore wrote that the company is only receptive to liberal viewpoints—an argument that has inspired the alt-right to rally behind his cause, Time.com reported.

Organizers of the "Boston Free Speech Coalition Rally" expected about 100 people to attend, according to a permit they obtained for the event, CNN reported. A Facebook page for the rally suggested more than 300 people would show up. However, aerial photos and videos show a much smaller number of demonstrators huddled in a gazebo on Boston Common, flanked by counterprotesters on all sides.

President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump will not attend the annual Kennedy Center Honors in December amid a political backlash among the honorees, The Washington Post reported. The first family will not participate "to allow the honorees to celebrate without any political distraction," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. The announcement comes as three of the five honorees—television producer Norman Lear, singer Lionel Richie and dancer Carmen de Lavallade—said they would boycott the traditional White House reception related to the celebration. As for the other two, rapper LL Cool J has not said if he would attend, and Cuban-American singer Gloria Estefan said she would go to try to influence the president on immigration issues.


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